Since the Covid pandemic of 2020/21, many Australian families are seeking a better work-life balance, and coastal towns have become increasingly popular, offering the opportunity to live by the beach, work from home and commute occasionally into larger cities. Port Macquarie is typical. Halfway between Sydney and Byron Bay, it has long been a favourite of downsizing retirees and, with this newest influx of residents, now has a cosmopolitan feel – and the fastest-growing population in New South Wales. Bloc, our client for this project, sought to take advantage of this evolving demographic with a luxury apartment building and townhouses overlooking the Town Beach and park.
Set among more dated 1990s blocks, the apartment building is intended to set a new benchmark for a regional coastal town, with an urban quality attractive to out-of-town buyers. To the north, it has large, comfortable balconies, outdoor rooms shaded by a generous overhang which capture long views out across the ocean. The eight-storey building has a solid base with white-rendered parapets to the balconies and timber screens, while to break down the mass the floors above are more lightweight with glazed parapets. To the south, a row of three-storey townhouses have sculptural, staggered front elevations to retain privacy and give visual interest. In between, the residents share a terraced, landscaped garden with a barbecue terrace and an indoor swimming pool below a huge glazed oculus.
Within a few weeks of completion, all of the homes in the development were sold. The interior design was an important selling point, offering a quality of finish more likely to be seen in the city and therefore integral to attracting the high-end buyers sought by the developers. The palette is inspired by the coastal environment, sufficiently calming to allow the views of the ocean to speak for themselves.